Green roof at City Hall and Courthouse building is home sweet home for honeybees
The green roof at the Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse building is now buzzing with honeybees, thanks to a donation from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which donated the bees from its own apiaries. Bees on rooftops are common in cities, and the green roof provides critical, protected habitat – especially in a commercial area such as Downtown. The two hives are expected to grow to about 50,000 bees each.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donated the bees and equipment as part of its commitment to a sustainable environment and to help the City with its environmental goals. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s own beehives have brought benefits including pollination of the fruits and vegetables at the tribe’s Wozupi (garden), honey production, and increased public awareness of the importance of pollinators through Wozupi classes and tours.
The beehive installation promotes awareness of urban ecosystems and furthers City goals including locally grown food available and chosen; and livable communities, healthy lives. It is also intended to serve as an example of urban and rooftop beekeeping since the City recently relaxed its beekeeping rules for rooftop hives.
The bees’ foraging distance is about 28 square miles; from this location that includes ample resources for a flourishing hive such as areas around Lake of the Isles; parts of Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake; about six miles of Mississippi shoreline; extensive parkland including Loring Park; and portions of the University of Minnesota. Honeybees are not aggressive; furthermore, their presence on rooftops is a safe distance from human traffic.
Honeybee populations have been declining because of several factors including loss of habitat, use of pesticides, bee diseases and parasites. Minneapolis is one of many cities around the country promoting beekeeping. From Washington, D.C., to Chicago to San Francisco, municipal governments and beekeeping organizations are working to reverse the trend of disappearing honeybees.
Other donors to this rooftop honeybee project include the Crystal VFW, Kingfield Neighborhood Association, Michelle Borland, Kelly Hamm, Ed Hanlon, John Prest, Leane Slominski, Joyce Thomas and Kristin Troutwine. These donations are for supplies and additional equipment.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wozupi (garden) manages more than 4.8 million honeybees in 120 hives in six apiaries. The honeybees provide important pollination for the Wozupi fruits and vegetables, and they feed throughout the season on tree blossoms, flowers, and other plants around the Community. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribe located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a focus on being a good neighbor, good steward of the earth, and good employer, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is committed to community partnerships, charitable donations, a healthy environment, and a strong economy. For more information, visit www.shakopeedakota.org and www.smscwozupi.org.
Published Jun. 6, 2013